Flights between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are set to become just a touch shorter but with major fuel savings for carriers.
Vietnam’s aviation authorities have reached agreement with their counterparts in Cambodia and Laos on permitting flights between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to pass through their airspace and Vietnam will not have to request permission for each flight and is allowed to fly at the ideal altitude of 10,650 meters (35,000 feet) over its two neighbors for the best fuel efficiency.
A trial flight by Vietnam Airlines in early September monitored by the Ministry of Transport (MoT) was made under the same conditions as normal flights between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City regarding speed, load, and wind direction as well as the same take-off and landing methods. The flight’s path was 85 kilometers shorter than the current route and consequently saved five minutes off the total flight time and approximately 190 kilograms of fuel. The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has suggested MoT seek lower fees for the use of Lao and Cambodian airspace.
MoT recently agreed with its neighboring counterparts to introduce the new “golden flight route” in two phases. A one-way route from Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat Airport to Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport will be established in the first phase. In the second phase, a parallel southbound route - 20 miles to the east of the northbound route, will commence. CAAV has affirmed that the separate routes should create more convenience and safety during taking-off and landing. CAAV and its counterparts in Laos and Cambodia are currently consulting with the International Civil Aviation Organization over technical and safety issues before seeking final approval from their respective authorities.